As medical professionals, we see firsthand the effects of racism that have led to conditions in which people of color do not have the same opportunity as white people in Minnesota to live healthy lives. We stand in solidarity with all people protesting racial inequities. In doing so, we acknowledge that the health care system we are a part of has been complicit in upholding white supremacy and reproducing oppression. Our system wields incredible power and works diligently to maintain this power - often through decisions made to promote financial returns instead of improving health outcomes of the most vulnerable. One cannot both endorse our current health system and state that Black Lives Matter. We must do more.
Police brutality and the murder of Black citizens are the most visible manifestations of America’s “original sin” of slavery. Racism pervades the policies, procedures, and actions of our education, health, and governmental systems. Systemic racism must be addressed at every level - from individuals to health systems to the government. We believe everyone deserves to live a healthy life, regardless of their race, gender, age, income, or zip code. This is why we believe that Minnesota and its counties, world-renowned medical schools, health care systems, and insurance plans, should declare that racism is a public health crisis. Racial health inequities in Minnesota are among the worst in the nation, and we ask that organizations and government agencies dismantle racism or be held accountable.
To begin to address structural racism in health care we ask that organizations institute the following: